Baltimore school leaders promised tighter screening of new employees after a hall monitor with a criminal record was charged with starting a small fire at a district high school that has been plagued by a rash of fires.
Lloyd Chris Stanton, 35, was charged with misdemeanor malicious burning after a school police officer at Walbrook High Uniformed Services Academy saw him holding a lighted match to a newspaper, according to Vanessa Pyatt, a district spokeswoman.
Mr. Stanton was one of more than 60 employees hired by the 90,000-student district last year to increase security at several schools that had experienced repeated small fires. This school year, more than 100 fires have occurred in Baltimore schools; 82 fire-related arrests have been made. He is scheduled to appear in court to enter a plea on Feb. 10.
According to the prosecutor’s office in Baltimore, Mr. Stanton pleaded guilty to assault with intent to murder in 1990 and received a suspended sentence and probation. City school officials were not aware of that offense when Mr. Stanton was conditionally hired, pending an FBI background check.
The district will now immediately screen applicants with the National Crime Information Center, a database of criminal records from courts and police agencies.
A version of this article appeared in the January 19, 2005 edition of Education Week